hurtle, whizz

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alex751

Member
French
Hello

I would like to know which of these two words implies a greater speed than the other.

for example :

A powerful motorbike hurtled / whizzed past my house.
A shooting star hurtled / whizzed through the sky.


Thanks
 
  • Ann O'Rack

    Senior Member
    UK
    UK English
    I don't think I would use "whizz" for a shooting star, because a shooting star doesn't make any noise. (And it would be "across" rather than "through".)

    "Zoom" is another word you could use in both contexts if you wanted an alternative.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I'd use "whiz" for the bike and "hurtle" for the shooting star, because "hurtle" says to me that the thing isn't connected to the ground, and I wouldn't want to think about a powerful motorcycle that way. :eek:
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I'd use "whiz" for the bike and "hurtle" for the shooting star, because "hurtle" says to me that the thing isn't connected to the ground, and I wouldn't want to think about a powerful motorcycle that way. :eek:
    :eek: I suspect these things are largely subjective: for me whizz suggests 'flying' while hurtle is (kind of, almost, more or less) akin to trundle, only much much faster and (possibly) noisier:)
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    [...] because "hurtle" says to me that the thing isn't connected to the ground, and I wouldn't want to think about a powerful motorcycle that way. :eek:
    I wonder if others see it that way (or is it a Parla special? :p). I'd quite happily say that someone hurtled into the room, or was hurtling down the corridor, or that a motorbike hurtled past at 100 miles an hour ... or, as the WR dictionary says, "The car hurtled down the road".

    Ws:)
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Again subjectively, I always see "hurtle" as an action that has some negligence attached to it or, at least, scant regard for what is around the object/person. When a person hurtles into a room, he usually "crashes into tables and chairs and sends books flying in all directions". Whizz is more neutral.

    The trouble is neither is indicative of a greater speed than the other, they are qualitative rather than quantitative. As such, and as usual, much will depend upon context.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Hurtle implies human (or something else) controlled. [...]
    Does it? :confused:

    - "Currently swirling around the Bahamas, Hurricane Cristobal is expected to move up the east coast of the United States before hurtling across the Atlantic." (Express, 27 Aug 2014)

    - "A trillion tons of dirt and rock hurtled into the atmosphere" (OpenSubtitle corpus)

    Ws:)
     
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